Donna M. Lydon

September 8th, 2015

Donna Mae Lydon (Reilley), of Wilmington, passed away on September 8, 2015, at the Care Dimensions Kaplan Family Hospice Home in Danvers, MA, after a courageous 13-year battle with tongue cancer. She was surrounded by her family. Her faith in God carried her through this long ordeal.

Donna was born in Lynn MA on September 5, 1942, the only child of James and Catherine (Williams) Reilley. Donna’s parents died in a car accident when she was 7 years old and she was raised in Arlington, MA by her godmother, Elizabeth (Williams) Poirier and her husband, Paul Poirier, along with her new loving sister, Carol Poirier.

Donna graduated from Arlington High School in 1960 and Boston State Teachers College in 1964. She married the love of her life and best friend, Ken Lydon, on August 22, 1964. Donna taught school for three years in Quincy MA before retiring from teaching to raise her four wonderful children. She and Ken, along with their two sons, Christopher and Russell, moved to Wilmington in July 1969. The family was then blessed with the addition of two daughters, Catherine in 1969 and Jennifer in 1971.

Throughout her life, Donna loved to garden, care for all the family and neighborhood pets, and cook. Her favorite saying was, “if you can read, you can cook.” She treasured her grandchildren and made each moment she spent with them magical. Donna was very active in her community, especially with the Cub Scouts with the Greater Lowell Scouting Councils and Camps. In 1983 she was awarded the Boy Scouts’ prestigious Silver Beaver Award. Donna worked as a substitute teacher in the Wilmington Public Schools and was active with the PAC at the Woburn Street School, where she initiated the annual pumpkin fair, which continues on today. Donna was a communicant at St. Thomas of Villanova Church for 47 years. She was a member of the Wilmington American Legion Post 136 Ladies Auxiliary, serving as the recorder for many years. She was also a waitress at Stelio’s Restaurant. This allowed her to be at home to raise her four children and meet many people who became her long-lasting friends.

Donna loved to travel with her husband, Ken. Together they went to Ireland, Hawaii, and on many trips to other parts of the country. They loved skiing at Bretton Woods and spending summers at the beach at Seabrook NH.

Donna is survived by Ken Lydon, her loving husband of 51 years; son Christopher, his wife Pam and grandson, Jack of Marietta GA; son Russell, his wife Patty, granddaughter Delaney and grandson Nick of Clifton Park NY; daughter Kati and Jim Murphy and grandsons Russell and Matthew Murphy of Billerica; and daughter Jennifer, husband Sean Theodos, and grandson Sean Paul Theodos, Jr. of Wilmington. Donna is also survived by her sister, Carol Fairchild of Amherst MA, along with many sisters- in- law, cousins, nieces, nephews, and dear friends.

Family & friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington, on Monday, September 14th at 10:00 a.m. followed by a Mass of Christian Burial in St. Thomas of Villanova Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington, at 11:00 a.m. Visiting hours will be held at the Funeral Home on Sunday, September 13th from 3:00-7:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Kaplan Family Hospice House, 78 Liberty St., Danvers, MA 01923.


17 Entries in Guest Book for “Donna M. Lydon”

  1. Debra Burke says:

    Ken,Chris, Russell, Katie and Jen, so sorry for your loss of an amazing wife and mother she always made me feel like one of hers growing up as a child. Will always have those memories to keep each of you stronge in this sad time. Prayers are with all of you. Debra (Marsolini)

  2. Kevin P. Doherty says:

    To the Lydon Family.

    Please know you are in my thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time.

  3. Fran and Fred says:

    Our hearts are heavy for all of you amazing Lydon’s. Our dearest friend will never be far from our thoughts and prayers. We will never forget all the loving, caring and generosity she showed throughout her life. No one should ever have to suffer as she did, and she did it so graciously. We are joyful for having her in our lives and take comfort in knowing she is with her loving God. Prayers continue for all of you.
    Much Love to all of you. Fran and Fred

  4. Prudy Hill Carty says:

    I was so saddened to hear of the passing of Donna. We were friends growing up on Windsor Street in Arlington. After high school, we went our separate ways and lost touch but I would often think of her and the fun we had together as kids. My thoughts and prayers are with her family.

  5. John Gerhartz says:

    Ken and family, so sorry to hear of Donna’s passing, please know that she and all of you are in our thoughts and prayers, may she rest in peace. John and Kris Gerhartz

  6. Kelly (Hersom) Michaud says:

    Kate, Jim and boys, we are sorry for you loss. Take care of each other during this difficult time.

    Jack & Kelly Michaud

  7. Marcia says:

    Our deepest condolences to you and your family on the passing of your your beloved Mom . We know that it is hard to bear this right now, but remember that death is only the end of the physical life and the beginning of an eternal life. May our our thoughts prayers ease you and your family through this difficult time.
    Ian & Marcia de Lima

  8. Angie Boisvert says:

    Russ and Patty…my thoughts,prayers,and deepest condolences go out to you and your family. There is nothing easy about losing a parent and I pray that peace will find its way into your hearts and ease your sorrows. So many thoughts from your YMCA friends go out to you. God bless you all. Angie B.

  9. Ginny DeCapot Keenan says:

    I was so sad to learn of Donna’s passing. I grew up next door to Donna on Windsor St. in Arlington. She was such fun to be with while we were growing up. My condolences to the Lydon family and to Carol. My thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  10. Cliff & Loretta King says:

    Ken and family, very sorry to hear of Donna’s passing after so long a fight. She was always gracious and a good friend. She will be missed. Know you are in our prayers.

  11. May Woo-Mok says:

    Please accept my condolences, just know that I am here for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out, especially during this difficult time. My sincere sympathy to you and your family.

  12. Hebsch family says:

    Our thoughts are with your family

  13. Mike & Doreen Champoux says:

    Kenny, and family. Doreen and I are so very sorry for your loss. Please know that the Champoux family is thinking of you and remembering your whole family in our prayers. Take comfort that Donna rests in God’s merciful kingdom.

    Vivat Jesus
    The Champoux Family.

  14. Constance Rudd says:

    Reading about Donna, I feel sadness for the great loss her family and friends have just suffered. I also feel sorrow for myself, who, despite so often sitting behind her in many Arlington homerooms, never got to know her well, and never was aware of the early childhood trauma she experienced. On the other hand, it’s really heartwarming to read about the richness of the life she has lived.

  15. Karen Favreau says:


    I am so sorry to hear about the passing of your mother. She is finally free of any pain and is at peace. You are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

  16. LouAnn Rice says:

    My Family and I are so sorry for all the pain you all are and your mother and has been through. We think about you all the time. So sorry Ken Russell Katie and Jennifer. Donna will always be a light and cheerful spirit in our hearts.

  17. LouAnn Rice says:

    I left out Chris, I am so sorry! May you all find peace in your mother’s beautiful spirit.

RSS feed for comments on this post.